We’ve been publishing the 9Marks Journal for over a decade, yet we’ve never done one focused on the pastor—his work and character. So let’s call this Journal irresponsibly overdue. While editing it, I found myself, first, convicted; second, encouraged; and third, well supplied with tweet after tweet of wisdom. I’m confident you’ll enjoy and benefit from it.
The pastor has to wear lots of hats in the course of his work: program-director, administrator, counselor, evangelist, and, at the top of the list, preacher and teacher. Yet in all of this, he is a shepherd. He watches over sheep, principally by concerning himself with their understanding of God’s Word and how it applies to their life together and with outsiders.
If you’re looking for background reading for this Journal, check out Paul Alexander’s four-part series of biblical theology summaries on the shepherding theme throughout Scripture: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. Also, see Bobby Jamieson’s one-article summary on the biblical theology of shepherding here.
All that provides the whole-Bible backdrop to the pieces of this Journal, many of which focus on one biblical phrase or idea from the New Testament about a pastor’s work. Matt Emadi reflects on the requirement for elders to be hospitable, Dan Miller on the command to patience, Aaron Menikoff on the call to holiness, Sam Emadi on what it means to be “able to teach,” and Kevin DeYoung on not being quarrelsome.
There’s nothing new, explosive, or headline-making in any of this. But it’s all deep, true, essential, and re-calibrating to your life and work!
I plan on reading Ed Moore’s piece on pastoring and parenting with my wife. Ray Ortlund’s two pieces on what to remember when things are going well or poorly should be read with a staff or fellow elders. Ryan Fullerton’s on praying for your people, Paul Martin’s on generosity, Bert Daniel’s on godliness, Erik Raymond’s on humility, and Bob Johnson’s on love should all be read monthly!
As I look over the table of contents, it’s hard for me to know what to highlight because each picks up a crucial aspect of pastoral work. Let me suggest this. There are 32 articles. Try reading one a day for a month (plus 1 or 2 days), maybe after you read your Bible. Ask God to grow you and every other pastor in your city in all these ways.